NEW YORK – Bernard Waber, the author of children’s favorites such as “The House on East 88th Street” and “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile,” has died.

Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Monday that Waber died May 16 at his Long Island home after a long illness. He was 91.

Waber’s “warmth, energy, artfulness, elegance, and abiding respect for children were epitomized in his books,” said Betsy Groban, Houghton’s senior vice president and publisher of books for young readers. His 33 books have sold 1.75 million copies, the company said.

Waber debuted as an author in 1962 with “The House on East 88th Street,” which introduced readers to the loveable Lyle, first spotted in a bathtub in an Upper East Side brownstone. Lyle’s story continued in “Lyle Finds His Mother,” “Lyle and the Birthday Party” and other works. Waber also wrote many non-Lyle books, such as “Ira Sleeps Over,” in which a boy fears he’ll be teased for bringing a favorite stuffed teddy bear to a friend’s house.

Waber was a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of what was then known as the Philadelphia College of Art.

He is survived by his brother, three children and four grandchildren. His final book, “Lyle Walks the Dog,” was a 2010 collaboration with his daughter, Paulis.

MacFarlane needs sleep

LOS ANGELES – Seth MacFarlane is too busy to host the Oscars in 2014.

The multitalented comedian said on Twitter that he “tried to make it work schedule-wise, but I need sleep.”

MacFarlane said in his tweet Monday that Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are among the best in the business. Zadan and Meron produced this year’s Oscar show, which earned higher ratings among coveted younger viewers, and will be returning for the 2014 telecast.

MacFarlane earned mixed reviews for his first outing as Oscar host in February, with some finding his material sexist and anti-Semitic.

The creator of “Family Guy” suggested Oscar producers tap the eccentric actor Joaquin Phoenix to host the show.

– From news service reports